Monday, 30 January 2012

Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai! (old capital to new capital)

Today I travelled from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. I had planned on going to Pai earlier, but I changed my mind after failing to find maps of the Mae Hong Son loop in Chiang Rai. Plus, camera prices are going up, the cheapest place I could find just added $60 to their price, but also the AU$ has gone up, so I best get one soon if I want it :)

So a couple of things to note about Chiang Rai. I stayed in Jansom guesthouse, right near Wat Jetyod on Jetyod Road (oddly enough). I'd ignored the place right next door until the morning I was leaving. I highly recommend the coffee and breakfast at ABC coffee. The owner roasts the coffee beans there and it's strong, and excellent. Pity I didn't get there a few days earlier.

The other recommendation for Chiang Rai (Again, on the morning I was leaving) is to go to Orn's Bookshop, not far from Wat Jetyod, there are signs on the street so you'll find it. They have a free map which marks a lot of the places in the main farang/touristy area, get this on your first day there...

Wat Jetyod (This is a sensible HDR!)

Serpenty thing at Wat Jetyod

Getting closer still to the temple (It's like powers of 10!) , these are the serpents scales.

So this morning I packed up, waited for a bit because something I ate didn't agree with me (but that passed...) and then set off for Chiang Mai. The goals are to acquire a map of accommodation along the Mae Hong Son loop because there is lots, and some of it is very expensive. And also to see if I can order chain+sprockets for the bike because my chain is stretched annoyingly in once spot so the bike rocks back and forth on smooth roads. And also, you know, 60D...

I took the 118 from Chiang Rai, which is the main signed way between the two cities. Along the way I saw this massive temple on a hill west of the highway. I decided to try get up there! I think this was near Wiang Pa Pao but google maps is being dumb and not helping me find out. It turns out it's pretty easy to get up there, there is a sealed road all the way up to the top which isn't too hard to follow (just keep making turns towards the hill), but it is very steep towards the top. Once I got into the area it looked like this small valley had been over run by various temples, all mostly under construction. I got to the top where the big temple was but most of it had scaffolding over it and the people looked like maybe I shouldn't be there so I went back down to a smaller temple to get a photo of the view.

The smaller temple.

My bike spoiling the view (this is another sensible HDR!)

Massively wide panorama of the view.
After that little excursion I resumed my journey south, and then stumbled upon his on the highway:
As the sign says "The Highest Hotsprings in Thailand!". I have no idea if that means the spray or altitude of this spot.
And it was actually hot. Steam coming off the spray.
And it smelt like farts. There was a smaller pool near this and the water was actually quite hot. But not as hot as the springs near Trang, those springs burnt my hand! Other than that it just looked like a touristy stop to break up the bus trip.

And then finally I was in Chiang Mai, at the Ban Wiang Guesthouse in a fan room with a hard bed for 300baht/night! So far it's very rare for me to have picked a place out, navigate to it, and not taken a room. There's only been a couple of towns where the accommodation has been full or over my self imposed 500baht/night limit. I find it much harder finding places in Australia where my limit would have been five times that.

While wandering around Chiang Mai tonight I spotted this:
'
"BNE WAS HERE"....
I remember these stickers being all over Melbourne, I can't remember if they were elsewhere in *.au. I don't think I've seen any others in my travels so far either. Reading up on this I found out they're very common in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I don't remember seeing them there but that was many many months ago now. Maybe at that point I was so used to seeing them on any flat surface that they didn't register. I thought this was a Melbourne only thing!

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